Microsoft on a roll, gets Congressional support for IE10 DNT, announces Windows Phone 8

Microsoft showed off Windows Phone 8 today which is full of potential win, except that Windows Phone 7.5 users will not be able to upgrade to 8. On top of announcing Surface and previously showing off a slick Mustang, Microsoft received Congressional support for DNT on by default in IE10. Lawmakers sent W3C a letter asking the group to support Microsoft's decision.

Microsoft is on quite the roll; after announcing Do Not Track will be turned on by default for Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8 and meeting resistance from the W3C Tracking Protection Working Group, Microsoft received DNT support from the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus. Rep. Joe Barton and Rep. Edward Markey sent a letter [PDF] asking W3C "to make the protection of consumer privacy a priority and support Microsoft's announcement by endorsing a default Do Not Track setting."

W3C was not the only unhappy party regarding the IE10 DNT settings that will provide privacy by default. The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) about had a cow and claimed Microsoft had "acted irresponsibly through its unilateral action to embed 'Do Not Track' functionality into Internet Explorer 10 with a default setting in the 'on' position." The Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) struck out at Microsoft as well, claiming the Mighty M's technology announcement "threatens to undermine that balance, limiting the availability and diversity of Internet content and services for consumers." DAA added, "Microsoft's technology announcement appears to include requirements that are inconsistent with the consensus achieved over the appropriate standards for collecting and using web viewing data (and which today are enforced by strong self-regulation)." Strongly enforced? Snort, yeah right.

That's not all as Microsoft has been excessively busy this month. The Redmond Giant showed off the sweet Project Detroit Mustang and BoxingBots at TechEd North America last week, unveiled Surface this week, and today announced Windows Phone 8 at the Windows Phone Summit in San Francisco.

The newest Windows Phone is based "on the rock-solid technology core of Windows 8. It means Windows Phone and its bigger sibling will share common networking, security, media and web browser technology, and a common file system." There will be a greater presence for Microsoft Office and the privacy-friendly DNT browser Internet Explorer 10 will come loaded on the phone.

Below you see examples of the Windows Phone 8 start screen.

Windows Phone 8, codenamed Apollo, was totally redesigned from the ground up. New hardware includes multi-core processor support that Microsoft said, "As reviewers have noted, Windows Phone runs buttery smooth on phones with a single processor. But piggybacking on the Windows core provides support for multiple cores-so we're ready for whatever hardware makers dream up." There will be "bigger, sharper screens" that support screen resolutions of 1280x768 and 1280x720. Other key features include Windows Phone 8 Wallet and NFC wireless sharing which is a handy way to pay, but also opens the door to potential mobile threats.

As for software updates, they "will be delivered wirelessly over-the-air, so you don't have to bother plugging your phone into your PC to update anymore. Second, we will support devices with updates for at least 18 months from device launch."

Perhaps the smartest move on Microsoft's part was to make the new phone appealing to enterprise as well as consumers. New "business-friendly" features include:

  • Device encryption: To help keep everything from documents to passwords safe, Windows Phone 8 includes built-in technology to encrypt the entire device, including the operating system and data files.
  • Better security: Windows Phone 8 supports the United Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) secure boot protocol and features improved app "sandboxing," so the phone is better protected from malware with multiple layers of security.
  • Remote management: With Windows Phone 8, IT departments can manage apps and phones remotely, with tools similar to ones they now employ for Windows PCs.
  • Company Hub and apps: Companies can create their own Windows Phone 8 Hub for custom employee apps and other critical business info.

The bad news? Current users with Windows Phone 7.5 will not be able to upgrade to Windows Phone 8. Instead, they will have to settle for a Windows Phone 7.8 update. Microsoft said, "Windows Phone 8 is a generation shift in technology, which means that it will not run on existing hardware. BUT we care deeply about our existing customers and want to keep their phones fresh, so we're providing the new Start screen in this new update." Some of the Arstechnica comments seem to vehemently disagree about Microsoft caring deeply for existing customers. Ars writer Peter Bright agreed that not being able to upgrade to Windows Phone 8 "is bad news for any current users of Windows Phone. Just how bad is less clear."

For those of you who will not be able to upgrade to Windows Phone 8, the Project Detroit's totally slick new Mustang also uses Windows Phone 7, so it probably won't be able to upgrade either. Feel better? The Windows Phone application is "one of the main ways to control" the Microsoft-West Coast Custom Mustang creation.

Engadget called Windows Phone 8 "honestly really slick."

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